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The impact of shifting cultivation in the forestry ecosystems of Timor-Leste

Author

Listed:
  • Maria Jeus

    (Técnica Superior de Agricultura, Díli, Timor-Leste)

  • Pedro Henriques

    () (CEFAGE e Departamento de Economia - Universidade de Évora)

  • Pedro Laranjeira

    (Ministério da Agricultura e Pescas de Timor-Leste)

  • Vanda Narciso

    (Investigadora independente)

  • Maria Leonor da Silva Carvalho

    (ICAM e Departamento de Economia - Universidade de Évora)

Abstract

Every year thousands of hectares of forest are destructed as a result of the practice of swidden agriculture, shifting cultivation or "slush and burn" causing changes in forest ecosystems. In Timor-Leste shifting cultivation is still practiced nowadays as a form of subsistence agriculture. The objectives of the research are to characterize and reveal the socio-economic importance of shifting agriculture to rural communities in Timor-Leste, to identify its impacts in the environmental sustainability of the ecosystems, as well as to suggest some solutions to mitigate their negative impacts. A questionnaire survey that characterized shifting cultivation, and asked farmers’ opinion on slash and burning of forest areas and on the importance of forests was applied to farmers of two Sucos of Bobonaro district. According to the results the existing vegetation before the slash was composed of dense forest, the slash is made by the family group, farmers have been doing the “slush and burn” for more than ten years and the size of the plots used is less than 2 hectares. The materials resulting from the slash are used for firewood, building materials and fencing. The burning of vegetable residues is done before planting and soil preparation and sowing is done with a lever. Land and forest, despite having an individual use, have a tenure regime of ownership and access in which its nature of common pool good prevails.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Jeus & Pedro Henriques & Pedro Laranjeira & Vanda Narciso & Maria Leonor da Silva Carvalho, 2012. "The impact of shifting cultivation in the forestry ecosystems of Timor-Leste," CEFAGE-UE Working Papers 2012_16, University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal).
  • Handle: RePEc:cfe:wpcefa:2012_16
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    shifting cultivation; forest ecosystems; sustainability; Timor-Leste.;

    JEL classification:

    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry
    • Q24 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Land
    • Q26 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Recreational Aspects of Natural Resources
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics

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